Seasons Greetings – A Wonderful Christmas Present!

The Gorgeous Jax

The Gorgeous Jax

To begin with, irrespective of what you believe (or don’t believe) I wish you all a peaceful, relaxed holiday season. I’ve been having a great time, taking some time off with family and friends. But I’ve been pretty lax with keeping up with my blog – sorry!

Probably one of the best presents I’ve ever had was dumped in my lap recently. As a mentor and music teacher, you always wish the best for your charges but this is just outstanding 🙂

I’m very proud and pleased that JAX has made it to Number 6 on the Triple J Unearthed Pop charts.

For those of you outside of Australia, this is something to truly celebrate, I really can’t begin to describe how proud I am of this up and coming artist! The song she’s uploaded “Swallow” is a really excellent pop song with quite a mature, dark lyric. This young woman is an inspiration to us all, to stick at it and follow your dreams!

I encourage you all to go to the site and have a listen – “Swallow” is available for free download.

Meanwhile, play nicely, stay safe and have a great end to 2013!

Debra xx

Looking Forward to 2014!

It’s been an exciting year for me but I’m really looking forward to 2014.

For starters, I’m on track to have The Lucky Six ready for release as a digital download early in the new year. If there’s enough interest, I’ll consider a CD release later in the year 😉

And, my previous digital release,The Woman on the Edge of the World has been so warmly received, that plans are well underway for a limited CD version. Each copy will contain full liner notes, my original artwork and photography and will be numbered and signed by me.

We’re planning this to be 100 copies only available through me. So if you’re interested, get in touch to pre-order!

Also, next year I’ll still be teaching privately in Hobart and taking some distance students via Skype. Plus, I have a wonderful session I run each week, writing and making music with a group of disabled people.

Life is full – and I love it that way 😀

Online Music Lessons Available in 2014

On Stage at Casbah Cafe

On Stage at Casbah Cafe

Due to enquiries from interstate and overseas, I’m setting up online music lessons from January 2014 on Skype. And for those of you who fill out the following contact form – the first lesson is free!

(Please note: I value your privacy and all information provided will never be passed on to any third party or displayed anywhere by me without your permission.)

Take care everyone!

Debra 😀

Performing v Teaching – The Great Divide

“I Want It All!!!”

Every since I can remember there’s always been a debate as to what musicians should do – perform or teach.

As a small child I recall being present when my father (possibly the finest musician I’ve ever met) was discussing with a couple of performer friends the merits of his teaching work, who were shaking their heads sadly. The implication was that he’d somehow sold out by going down the teaching route. He was still performing at that stage too!

I don’t remember this but apparently they asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up and (true to form) said I wanted it all!

The story goes like this. If you teach, you must be a second rate performer and if you perform you can’t ever be a decent teacher. Personally, I’ve always found it a vacuous argument – I do both and have done for many years. How well I do them is a matter of conjecture of course, but I have managed to balance the two – and I believe I am a better performer and music educator for the experience.

I know most of my students would tell you that they come to me because I am a performer and understand what it takes to be that kind of musician.

Recently, I had a phone call from a family member, who took the teaching route after graduating from a prestigious Australian music conservatorium. She teaches at an International School in South East Asia and many people I know would be jealous of her career and lifestyle. Nevertheless, a touring musician made a thoughtless remark at a concert she recently attended that amounted  to saying teaching was second rate compared to the exciting life of touring.

Touring is hard work. Yes, it’s exciting going to new places and playing to new audiences but very risky financially, physically very draining and (no matter what anyone says) can be grindingly dull when you’ve played so many dates you can’t recall what town you’re in anymore. These days I try and break up my performance schedule with a little time off, a day for relaxation and sleep and just playing tourist or catching up with friends or family. Fellow Tasmanian musicians The Sign are a good case in point. Currently touring in the US, they’re making it a road-trip holiday and family get together plus a very slick and professional music tour. Smart people!

In many respects I think teaching is the harder gig. One-to-one or groups, students hang on your every note and word, and they’re very happy to question if  you do anything that might contradict what you’re trying to get across! The process of educating for me is a different kind of performance, with it’s own specific skill set. And it must be said that just because someone is a brilliant live performer that does not follow that they will be an equally brilliant educator!

For me the old “those who can, do – those who can’t, teach” chestnut just doesn’t stack up – I love both and will continue to educate and perform to the very best of my ability.

If you want to read more, this 2007 blog from professional double bass player & educator Jason Heath is recommended.

I’ll finish by quoting US classical pianist Joshua Nemith;

The path to a narrow musical career is paved with good intentions. Today, more than ever, that path needs to widen rather than permanently branch into two unconnected avenues: educators who are not performers, and performers who are not educators.